AMHERST – Amherst’s fourth Family First New Year’s Eve celebration appears to have been a hit.
More than a thousand people of all ages passed through the doors of the Amherst Stadium on New Year’s Eve as the town celebrated the end of 2017 and the start of 2018.
“It was a great community celebration,” Amherst’s recreation director Bill Schurman said. “It was a great way for people to show their pride in the community.”
This was the third year the community celebration was held inside the rink after the inaugural event in 2014 was held at Dickey Park. While temperatures outside the rink were very cold, Schurman said it didn’t deter people for coming out for the two-hour event that featured horse and wagon rides around the stadium parking lot, ice painting and skating inside as well as chili and hot chocolate, trivia, a movie and live entertainment from Second Toe.
“We’re always looking for new ideas on how to celebrate the new year and the suggestion was made to have live entertainment,” Schurman said. “Second Toe was available to play and we’ve already signed them up to return next year.”
While the event, held in conjunction with the SOAR Community Health Board, is geared for the entre family, Schurman said there were a lot of seniors who simply came to the rink to listen to the music and watch the activities.
“Everything was very well received,” Schurman said, adding the event partnered with ARHS this year to support its food pantry program.
Members of the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers, who played earlier in the day, were out to help out during the Family First celebration while Schurman was highly complimentary of both stadium and town staff who gave up their New Year’s Eve to help out at the stadium.
Also helping out were members of the Amherst Youth Town Council.
Also, despite very cold conditions the fireworks show was held – even if the cold weather was impacting the batteries used to fire off the pyrotechnic display.
“Now that it has hit its fourth year it has become a bit of a tradition and we have noticed increased attendance every year,” he said. “The success of the show continues to grow every year.”
Now that 2018 has begun, Schuman said there are plenty of opportunities. The walking trail at Dickey Park is still open and the business at the outdoor rink has been booming. Schurman said a lot of thanks has to go out to Dr. Kim Maddison for making the downtown property available and not a day has gone by that there aren’t skaters of all ages on the ice surface.
The off-leash dog park at the Robb Centennial Complex has also been very busy, despite the frigid temperatures. That pilot project continues until April at which time the town will decide whether or not to build a permanent facility.
Attention has now turned to organizing the town’s winter carnival from Feb. 13 to 19 with events throughout the town, culminating on Heritage Day Feb. 19.
Organizations that wish their events to be included in the winter carnival are asked to send their information to the recreation department at firstname.lastname@example.org .